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October 3, 2011 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Typekit, the subscription based Web Font service founded by Jeffery Veen, has been aquired by Adobe.
posted by Artw (44 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
MetaFilter's Own™
posted by mathowie at 12:44 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hate to be pessimistic about the news, but I'm pessimistic about the news. Adobe doesn't have a great track record of keeping products alive without either overbuilding them or removing what made them worth using.
posted by ardgedee at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


Fuck Adobe. Seriously. Anything else wonderful you want to ruin, guys?
posted by strixus at 12:51 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Congratulations, veen!

Condolences, Typekit users!
posted by Jairus at 12:52 PM on October 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


mathowie: "MetaFilter's Own™"

Wait. Is that a (really, really old) joke account?

ardgedee: "I hate to be pessimistic about the news, but I'm pessimistic about the news. Adobe doesn't have a great track record of keeping products alive without either overbuilding them or removing what made them worth using."

How about Lightroom? RawShooter was awesome for its absurdly light weight and pioneered the "Vibrance" control (which they actually called "Saturation," because "Vibrance" basically is "A saturation control that's useful to real-world photographers"). Now, Lightroom is a nasty, bloated application, but it also happens to kick 50 kinds of butt for editing large batches of photos, in spite of itself...
posted by schmod at 12:53 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait. Is that a (really, really old) joke account?

It is certainly not and I've got a set of Helvetica letters carved from bananas to prove it.
posted by griphus at 1:03 PM on October 3, 2011


Adobe is on a spending spree! They also picked up nitobi, the creators of PhoneGap (software for creating native apps from HTML5 apps). The TechCrunch article is a little off, though, as the developers have "initialized the process to contribute PhoneGap to the Apache Software Foundation."
posted by isnotchicago at 1:07 PM on October 3, 2011


When the announcement email hit my inbox, I groaned. I like Typekit, but this news is not at all good. The quality of Adobe's software is pretty shocking and I resent them for what they've done to the Macromedia software. Recent applications like Edge, with it's un-semantic, inaccessible markup, show contempt for the web.
posted by TheDonF at 1:14 PM on October 3, 2011


Yeah, not so happy about this. But at least there's Google Web Fonts.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:15 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm super pessimistic about this. I've used Typekit almost exclusively, but I'll be spending more time working with Fontdeck, Fonts.com and MyFonts just so I have an alternative ready.

Adobe prices everything far too high, has Pit of Hell customer service and has managed to royally screw up every simple tool they've ever acquired by adding "synergy" with their other products.
posted by letitrain at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Two points slightly off-topic

Out of curiosity could I just host a free font (Say, a TrueType version of Computer Modern) on my website and just skip all these obfuscation services? Or was that ability left out due to piracy concerns?

------------

Secondly and more rant-related:
I have a love-hate relationship with Adobe.

I hated PDFs for a lot of years, since you couldn't edit them, copy and pasting from them was hit or miss, doubly so in 2 column documents and they took forever to load.

Then I got PDFCreator and saw how useful they could be for sending out resumes and such, since I knew it would look the same wherever it arrived.

Then I discovered people using PDFs to embed 3d animations and got annoyed because that isn't what a document format is for.

I also *love* how you can have companies that demand you fill in a PDF form and submit it electronically...except that you can't save data into PDF forms without buying a stupidly expensive program, leading me to use PDFCreator to turn each page into a PNG, which I put in MS publisher and use textboxes to fill in the data, then print back into PDFCreator, which made me hate them.

Then I discovered LaTeX which lets me make pretty documents in PDF and mostly love it. Kinda. Sorta. As long as you disable every browser extension so it doesn't open in my browser, using up half the screen with columns and a frame from the websight.

So at least it will hopefully be pretty, and obey standards before it bloats to hell?

Oh wait, this is the same company that makes flash. I hope you guys like massive memory wastage and living in a tiny little sandbox that only works quite right on windows and possibly Mac.
posted by Canageek at 1:21 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm super pessimistic about this. I've used Typekit almost exclusively, but I'll be spending more time working with Fontdeck, Fonts.com and MyFonts just so I have an alternative ready.

There is also Font Squirrel.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is also Font Squirrel.

FTW.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2011


Out of curiosity could I just host a free font (Say, a TrueType version of Computer Modern) on my website and just skip all these obfuscation services? Or was that ability left out due to piracy concerns?

Well, see that's always been the problem with Web Fonts... the technology has been there since IE4, has been relatively stable cross browser for a while now, but the licensing issues are hell, mostly because Font Foundries don't want their precious fonts escaping into the wild and so guard them jealously. Of course, as with all IP issues, that happens anyway.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2011


As someone else said, Adobe has two products: Photoshop and malware.
posted by mightygodking at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2011 [28 favorites]


Blimey, it's all go this week in acquisitions:
Rhapsody to Acquire Napster
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2011


Out of curiosity could I just host a free font (Say, a TrueType version of Computer Modern) on my website and just skip all these obfuscation services?

In addition to the legalities Artw describes, there's also the issue of font formats. A single TrueType font won't work correctly across all browsers or platforms. Ideally, if you're going to self-host websfonts, you will need to host .ttf, .eot, .woff, and .svg forms of the same font. This is where Font Squirrel is a godsend to self-hosters. Their packages contain all four file formats.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2011


Surely we can all agree that signing up and making one comment hardly counts as "Mefi's own." That's more like a drive-by.
posted by crunchland at 2:04 PM on October 3, 2011


At least Yahoo didn't buy 'em.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2011


There are a number of font-foundries represented on Typekit that are not Adobe. It would be a shame if these disappeared. At the very least it presents a strange conflict of interest, I imagine the "editorial tone", featured fonts, etc. will no longer be an independent voice.

Far more interesting to me is that this was announced on the first day of Adobe MAX, their yearly convention for all things new and exciting at Adobe. This is part of their intended goal to be a part of the HTML5 picture, other announcements in the keynote include the Phonegap acquisition mentioned above as well as something called Creative Cloud.

All in all, very little Flash mentioned so far.
posted by jeremias at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2011


I like Adobe. I don't like their ridiculous pricing schemes that pretty much guarantee their software will be pirated and that their draconian PITA DRM pretty much guarantees their software will be pirated, but Adobe has done a lot of good things.

Yeah, Typekit could turn into a $399/seat bucket of suck, but I doubt it will -- this is a huge opportunity for Adobe to sell a lot more fonts at reasonable prices, and they aren't going to blow that, not at a time when they're getting pressure from every part of the tech industry and are trying to appear as a good actor in a web world that will turn in a hurry on anyone they don't like.

It could all go sideways. But this isn't like Yahoo buying Delicious.
posted by dw at 2:07 PM on October 3, 2011


Really? They have a new version of Flash and AIR out:
News from Adobe MAX
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on October 3, 2011


I have nothing nice to say about this news. In my opinion this is unarguably a huge step backwards for typography on the web.

Jeffery and team, I sure hope it was a nice big check, and that you aren't saddled with a ridiculously long non compete clause. Good luck on your next venture.

.
posted by -t at 2:12 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Following on my initial snipe:

I see this as, among other things, Adobe securing a web fonts resource to support Adobe Edge, their pending HTML5 design tool, as well as something to embed within Dreamweaver.

Embed how? As an in-app sales tool. Style your website with Dreamweaver's WYSIWYG tools and built-in font library, and click the "Pay Now" button that will appear before the Publish button.

I'm also afraid of TypeKit losing its curatorial focus. Even if Adobe has good intentions, TypeKit is no longer a small operation negotiating with its small-operator peers (independent foundries) for the terms of web licenses for fonts. Adobe's a big corporation, it wants to conduct business in big corporation's ways. Small foundries will probably, sooner or later, be left to agree to less favorable contracts with Adobe or else try a less popular font host somewhere else, and suffer from its lesser presence.

Where things get interesting is that one of the key convenience technologies for embedding fonts is WebFontLoader, a TypeKit/Google joint that Google hosts. The nice thing about WebFontLoader is that while it's got shortcuts for Google, TypeKit, and a handful of other foundries, it is host-agnostic; you can use it for fonts on your own server or anybody else's (within reason). Adobe can't control that and change it without poisoning the well. Adobe can fork it into their own Adobe/TypeKit-proprietary version down the road, but not without having to continue collaborating with Google for backwards compatibility on behalf of TypeKit customers who are also loading non-TypeKit-hosted fonts.

So it remains to be seen how the web font landscape changes from here on out. A lot of it will depend on how long Adobe can hang on to it without either burying it or trying to milk it dry. I remain pessimistic.
posted by ardgedee at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2011


It goes without saying that Adobe will do a great job with typekit right? Given they have been so progressive about making tools for the web to date right?
posted by specialk420 at 2:30 PM on October 3, 2011


As long as I don't have to go through Adobe Updater every time I want to see a web page with nice fonts.
posted by howling fantods at 2:33 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


As long as I don't have to go through Adobe Updater every time I want to see a web page with nice fonts.

Bridge for Web
posted by Thorzdad at 2:41 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Photoshop and malware

...and My Little Pony.

posted by Artw at 2:46 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad: And I thought fonts with PDFLaTeX were a pain! I'm guessing Type 1 and/or Bitmap are right out!
posted by Canageek at 2:53 PM on October 3, 2011


One of those instances where me clicking favourite isn't a case of "I really like the news contained within this post!", rather a case of "Sooner or later, I expect I'll be looking around for a replacement for typekit at work, thinking 'now where was that metafilter thread where people listed a bunch of alternatives?'"
posted by Slyfen at 3:12 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll read this after a quick reboot, just got a Flash update I need to do.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:29 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by krautland at 4:58 PM on October 3, 2011


Who needs more than three fonts anyway?

I barely kid here. I've never understood the need for a huge number of fonts. I sure as fuck am not going to pay for them for a website.

Fonts are too expensive for anyone other than professional designers or publishing houses to afford. Then you add in the license restrictions on usage and I move on.

I looked into Typekit and other options for use on the web. My ideal would be to buy a font and be able to use it for print, web, ePub or whatever I want, but it's never that easy. Hell, you don't even buy fonts. You license them.

Me? I'll still with the system defaults. It I get crazy it's probably because Adobe or Apple installed a font without telling me.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:46 PM on October 3, 2011


Well, see that's always been the problem with Web Fonts [...] the licensing issues are hell

I'd say the licensing issues were hell until about a year ago, shortly after Google launched their web font service. Once Typekit had established they could safely license fonts and Google had established a willingness to fill the web with quality free fonts, nearly all foundries became more interested in getting in the game than trying to prevent the game. Today, it's hard to find a good font that isn't available via a web font vendor. There are still a few, but they're a vanishing minority.
posted by scottreynen at 5:46 PM on October 3, 2011


Who needs more than three fonts anyway?

Depends what the 3 are and what you're doing. Fonts add character to text. If you're only using text in a few contexts, you probably don't need that much character. But the font you need to communicate "this is fun" is very different from the font you need to communicate "this is official" or "this is serious" or "this is futuristic" or "this is ancient." Having only 3 fonts is kind of like having only 3 colors. You can still draw anything, but some things would clearly be better with a larger pallete.

Fonts are too expensive for anyone other than professional designers or publishing houses to afford.

Google web fonts are free, with very open licenses.
posted by scottreynen at 6:01 PM on October 3, 2011


This is exactly how I felt when Intuit bought Mint.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 7:07 PM on October 3, 2011


For anyone who's interested, Kenneth Berger of Adobe helped drive Adobe's acquisitions of Typekit and Nitobi, and is taking questions over at Hacker News.
posted by Jairus at 8:50 PM on October 3, 2011


As someone else said, Adobe has two products: Photoshop and malware.

And InDesign. And Illustrator. If you're going to hate on Adobe, at least make it for the right reasons.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:41 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


~As someone else said, Adobe has two products: Photoshop and malware.
~And InDesign. And Illustrator. If you're going to hate on Adobe, at least make it for the right reasons.


Basically, Adobe has a single product...Highly Expensive Bloat.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:30 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's more accurate to say that Adobe produced a wildly successful product that became a perfect platform for malware due to short-sighted negligence on their part.
posted by crunchland at 7:03 AM on October 4, 2011


And I thought fonts with PDFLaTeX were a pain!

XeLaTeX is here for you.

Or LuaTex, I guess.
posted by kenko at 8:58 AM on October 4, 2011


cjorgensen, I'm fond of Font Squirrel (free web fonts, mentioned up thread) in part because you're not dependent on any hosting service or obfuscations, etc. The @font-face kit is pretty sweet, and once you understand how it works, you can tweak the CSS for yourself.
posted by epersonae at 9:03 AM on October 4, 2011


Fonts can be embedded in ePubs, but the issue is they have to be included in the ePub package, which means you are effectively distributing the font. And ePub is nothing more than a .zip file, so anyone that like the embedded font can open it up and use it how one likes.

Unless the font is CC or Public Domain it's not legally going into the package.

Personally, this is why I like iBooks in that I know what fonts are available on the device and can work from there.

It's getting harder to use fonts, not easier. Which format? OTF? TT? Then you have to decide if it's going to be on the target device or if you are going to resort to something like typekit.

I've played around with most of the fonts on the web solutions. sIFR, typekit (when it first came out), images, etc. I keep returning to what comes on the mac or PC.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:21 PM on October 4, 2011


@Kenko I plan on moving to LuaTeX as soon as it fully supports microtype.

@cjorgensen There are some pretty nice free fonts out there though. There are look-alikes to most of the major ones, and an increasing number of good, free ones. Just check out all the font packages in the debian repository.
posted by Canageek at 7:03 PM on October 5, 2011


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